5 years ago

Mixed-Method Evaluation of Social Media-Based Tools and Traditional Strategies to Recruit High-Risk and Hard-to-Reach Populations into an HIV Prevention Intervention Study

Curtis Dolezal, Alex Carballo-Diéguez, Alan Z. Sheinfil, Sarah J. Iribarren, Raynier Crespo, Christine T. Rael, Rebecca Giguere, William Brown, Timothy Frasca, Alhasan Ghazzawi, Iván C. Balán, Javier Lopez-Rios


Men who have sex with men and transgender women are hard-to-reach populations for research. Social media-based tools may overcome certain barriers in accessing these groups and are being tested in an ongoing study exploring HIV home-test kit use to reduce risk behavior. We analyzed pre-screening responses about how volunteers learned about the study (n = 896) and demographic data from eligible participants who came for an initial study visit (n = 216) to determine the strengths and weaknesses of recruitment strategies. Social media-based strategies resulted in the highest number of individuals screened (n = 444, 26% eligible). Dating sites/apps reached large numbers of eligible participants. White-Hispanics and African-Americans were more likely to be recruited through personal contacts; community events successfully reached Hispanic volunteers. Incorporating recruitment queries into pre-screening forms can help modify recruitment strategies for greater efficacy and efficiency. Findings suggest that recruitment strategies need to be tailored to reach specific target populations.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10461-017-1956-6

DOI: 10.1007/s10461-017-1956-6

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